Sept. 8, 2011
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Kansas State volleyball team put on a block party on Thursday night to open the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational with a win in five sets over the Missouri State Bears in an exciting match. K-State stuffed the Bears 22 times on the night which ties for third in school history for a five-set match. The Wildcats (5-3) got the win 25-17, 20-25, 25-27, 25-19, 15-12 with another shinning performance from sophomore middle blocker Kaitlynn Pelger.
Pelger had a career-night as she posted 26 kills while also hitting .510, but it was her defensive presence at the net that made the difference in the match. Of K-State’s 22 blocks, seven of them were solo stops, and six of those were from Pelger. That mark ties for second in school history for a five-set match as well. It was Pelger’s third double-double of the season. She also tallied three aces in the win.
It was a solid performance for all of K-State’s middle blockers in the match. Redshirt freshman Taylor Johnson had another strong performance early in the season pounding out seven kills on 14 swings. She also had seven block assists to play a major role at the net for the Wildcats.
The fifth set brought more excitement as the match remained tightened down the wire until Pelger put the team on her shoulders. With the Wildcats leading 11-9, Pelger would score K-State’s final four points. A solo block put K-State ahead 12-9 before the Bears scored three straight to tie it up. Pelger then had a kill and closed the match with back-to-back solo blocks.
Missouri State (4-3) was led by outside hitter Karen Rivatto with 17 kills. A total of four Bears were in double digits on Thursday with Christine McCartney posting 15 and the pair of Amber Doolittle and Calli Norman tallying 10 apiece. K-State also had two more Wildcats in double digit kills. Lilla Porubek tied her season-high with 15, and Kathleen Ludwig had 10. Ludwig also posted 10 digs on the night for a double-double.
The Wildcats found their offensive rhythm quickly against the Bears as they hit .424 in the first set as they had just three attack errors. Pelger led the way for the team in the first set with five kills on nine swings and one error. K-State spread the offense around in the opening stanza as well. The tandem of Johnson, Ludwig and Porubek each added three kills.
K-State took that momentum from the first set and carried it over to the second jumping to an early 6-1 lead and forcing a Missouri State timeout. The Bears would rebound, however, and go on a 9-2 of their own to take a 10-8 lead. Missouri State would go on another rally to go ahead 15-13 but the Bears’ biggest run came after the Wildcats tied the set at 20-20, and Missouri State scored the next five points to go into the locker room tied at one set apiece.
The third set saw the Wildcats fall behind after a 9-3 run by the Bears put them down 17-12. K-State then rallied from behind with seven straight points to go ahead 19-18. Back-to-back aces by Pelger helped push Missouri State into a corner. Caitlyn Donahue appeared to have established set point on a quick dump over the net, but the Wildcats were called for a net violation. Instead of leading 24-21, it was 22-23. Missouri State would grab the momentum from that call and win 27-25 after fighting back to force extra points in the set.
In the fourth set, the Wildcats continued to stuff the Bears with their block. K-State tallied five blocks in the set after posting six during the third. Those blocks played a key role late in the set as K-State had two during a 6-1 run to close out the fourth.
The Wildcats continue action at the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational hosted by Missouri State on Friday as they will take on the Hofstra Pride at noon Friday. The match will be broadcast online only by 1350 KMAN with Rob Voelker calling the action. The live audio feed will also be available online at kstatesports.com for free.